Thursday, January 27, 2011

Even Blake Griffin has limits, says Vinny Del Negro

At this point in the season, you're probably familiar with Blake Griffin's near-mythical game. He causes earthquakes with every dunk, leaps mountains in a single bound, and brushes his teeth with conifer trees. There are seemingly no limits to what he can do on the basketball court, which is what makes his future so exciting. We have no idea which great feats we might see every time he sees the floor.

With Eric Gordon set to miss three weeks with a wrist fracture, Griffin would seem to need to take on an even bigger scoring load. But according to Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, that might not be possible.

From Lisa Dillman in the Los Angeles Times:

"I don't know if we can go to Blake much more than we do already," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Tuesday.

It's going to take a collective effort, and then some. The loss of Gordon looms large and cast a shadow over an already troubled Clippers season. The shooting guard could be out until after the All-Star break because of an injured wrist. [...]

Rookie point guard Eric Bledsoe(notes) spoke about the loss of Gordon and what it meant to Griffin. "He helps Blake out," Bledsoe said. "So we just need somebody to help Blake out. I think somebody will step up. I think it will probably be Baron [Davis] or somebody off the bench."

With all that Griffin's accomplished this year, it's odd to think of him as someone who can't take on a greater load, let alone someone who has needed and will continue need help to achieve greatness. He plays with such otherworldly force that he seems to control his position on the floor at all times. He's both of the larger Clippers system and apart from it.

He's still a basketball player, though, and he relies on players like Gordon and Davis to get him the ball and open up scoring opportunities. The question might not be if Griffin can take on a greater role in Gordon's absence, but if he can even match his current numbers.

These next few weeks will be an important test of Griffin's impact. If he's able to maintain or improve on his numbers even without his team's best perimeter scoring threat, then he may be able to become one of the NBA's elite superstars sooner than anyone has predicted. If not, well, he's still the league's most watchable player. It's a win-win, I suppose. Via Ball Don't Lie